- Alex Scarborough, ESPN Staff Writer
There might still be a few beleaguered New York Jets fans wandering Radio City Music Hall today, wondering who Jordan White or Josh Bush are.
But while Gang Green regroups for the hysteria that will be Sanchez-Tebow, we at TideNation are focusing on the University of Alabama and how the draft will look in 2013.
Before any “Big Board” is erected or “Best Available” constructed, let’s look at who might be a part of next year’s draft class at Alabama.
D.J. Fluker: It should come as no surprise that the offensive line will lead the way in 2013. And the lineman most NFL personnel will ogle will be redshirt junior D.J. Fluker. At 6-foot-6, 335 pounds, what’s not to like? A starter for two years, there’s a chance Fluker could have gone in the first round of this year’s draft. Nonetheless, a number of sites have the Foley, Ala., native ranked as the top tackle in the 2013 class, a potential top-5 pick.
Barrett Jones: The time will come when Barrett Jones will move on from the Tuscaloosa campus. It’s hard to imagine considering how long the redshirt senior has been here, starting since 2009. All that hard work will pay off, though, as the defending Outland Trophy winner appears well positioned to go in the middle of the first round. His ability to play multiple positions will appeal to any team in search of a guard or tackle. (And in April, who isn’t?)
Chance Warmack: By the time Chance Warmack is readying for the NFL combine, he’ll have started three years against the best defensive lines in the country, all the while blocking for two Heisman Trophy finalists. That’s part of why the 6-foot-3, 320-pound rock at guard will be coveted by NFL scouts and general managers. Several sites have him rated in the top five of college guards. With a good senior year and a good combine, he could rise into the first round.
Nico Johnson: Another in the long line of Alabama linebackers, Nico Johnson will benefit greatly from those that came before him. Johnson may not have the physical tools that jump off the screen, but the senior linebacker can make all the plays and is as fundamentally sound as you’ll find. He’ll impress coaches with his intelligence in one-on-one meetings. With another year starting in the SEC, his stock could rise into the top 10 of outside linebackers.
CJ Mosley: He will only be a true junior this year but C.J. Mosley has plenty of experience, playing in nearly two dozen games in 2010 and 2011. With another year under his belt and no starting spot to share with Johnson, Mosley could shine. The Theodore, Ala., native is a bit undersized at linebacker (6-foot-2, 232 pounds) but has the speed and athleticism to make up for it. If he decides to forgo his senior season, don’t be surprised if Mosley makes it into the later part of the first round next year.
Dee Mlliner: For Dee Milliner, much depends on 2012. While the junior from Millbrook has seen the field a lot in his first two years at the Capstone, he’s always had Barron and Kirkpatrick to surround him. With that said, he has shown the ability to make plays, leading the team in interceptions last year. His physicality at 6-foot-1, 199 pounds will be attractive to teams at the next level. If he chooses to come out early, he’ll have plenty of teams interested in his services.
Robert Lester: Looking at the safeties come off the board last week, it’s difficult not to imagine where Robert Lester would have gone had he not decided to come back for his senior year. The decision to wait paid off for his teammate Mark Barron who wound up going from a second-round prospect to a top-10 pick by coming back for another year. And like Barron, how Lester handles injuries will be key. If the 6-foot-2 senior stays healthy and returns to his 2010 form in terms of production, he will have serious first round consideration.
Jesse Williams: The 6-foot-4, 320-pound Aussie isn’t on many draft boards now, but just wait. Jesse Williams has all the traits you want from a defensive lineman: a strong space-eater with quick feet and versatility. If he can hold down a new position at nose guard, his draft stock could soar, fitting into any defensive scheme with his ability to play multiple positions and rush the passer.
How many from the Crimson Tide will go in the 2013 draft? Cast your vote at The Tusk.
2hCraig Haubert and Tom Luginbill
5dGreg Ostendorf and Alex Scarborough